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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Multilevel structured (regression) and post-stratification

My enemies are all too familiar. They’re the ones who used to call me friend – Jawbreaker Well I am back from Australia where I gave a whole pile of talks and drank more coffee than is probably a good idea. So I’m pretty jetlagged and I’m supposed to be writing my tenure packet, so […]

Amending Conquest’s Law to account for selection bias

Robert Conquest was a historian who published critical studies of the Soviet Union and whose famous “First Law” is, “Everybody is reactionary on subjects he knows about.” I did some searching on the internet, and the most authoritative source seems to be this quote from Conquest’s friend Kingsley Amis: Further search led to this elaboration […]

Conditional probability and police shootings

A political scientist writes: You might have already seen this, but in case not: PNAS published a paper [Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings, by David Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario] recently finding no evidence of racial bias in police shootings: Jonathan Mummolo and Dean Knox noted […]

Swimming upstream? Monitoring escaped statistical inferences in wild populations.

Anders Lamberg writes: In my mails to you [a few years ago], I told you about the Norwegian practice of monitoring proportion of escaped farmed salmon in wild populations. This practice results in a yearly updated list of the situation in each Norwegian salmon river (we have a total of 450 salmon rivers, but not […]

The Economist does Mister P

Elliott Morris points us to this magazine article, “If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president,” which reports: Close observers of America know that the rules of its democracy often favour Republicans. But the party’s biggest advantage may be one that is rarely discussed: turnout is just 60%, low for a rich country. […]

Discussion with Nassim Taleb about sexism and racism in the Declaration of Independence

Nassim Taleb points to this post from congressmember Ayanna Pressley linking to an opinion piece by Matthew Rozsa. Rozsa’s article has the title, “Fourth of July’s ugly truth exposed: The Declaration of Independence is sexist, racist, prejudiced,” with subttile, “How we can embrace the underlying spirit of the Declaration of Independence — and also learn […]

Gendered languages and women’s workforce participation rates

Rajesh Venkatachalapathy writes: I recently came across a world bank document claiming that gendered languages reduce women’s labor force participation rates. It is summarized in the following press release: Gendered Languages May Play a Role in Limiting Women’s Opportunities, New Research Finds. This sounds a lot like the piranha problem, if there is any effect […]

Pre-results review: Some results

Aleks Bogdanoski writes: I’m writing from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) at UC Berkeley with news about pre-results review, a novel form of peer review where journals review (and accept) research papers based on their methods and theory — before any results are known. Pre-results review is motivated by growing […]

Voter turnout and vote choice of evangelical Christians

Mark Palko writes, “Have you seen this?”, referring to this link to this graph: I responded: Just one of those things, I think. Palko replied: Just to be clear, I am more than willing to believe the central point about the share of the population dropping while the share of the electorate holds relatively steady, […]

Gigerenzer: “The Bias Bias in Behavioral Economics,” including discussion of political implications

Gerd Gigerenzer writes: Behavioral economics began with the intention of eliminating the psychological blind spot in rational choice theory and ended up portraying psychology as the study of irrationality. In its portrayal, people have systematic cognitive biases that are not only as persistent as visual illusions but also costly in real life—meaning that governmental paternalism […]

“Did Austerity Cause Brexit?”

Carsten Allefeld writes: Do you have an opinion on the soundness of this study by Thiemo Fetzer, Did Austerity Cause Brexit?. The author claims to show that support for Brexit in the referendum is correlated with the individual-level impact of austerity measures, and therefore possibly caused by them. Here’s the abstract of Fetzer’s paper: Did […]

This is a great example for a statistics class, or a class on survey sampling, or a political science class

Under the heading, “Latino approval of Donald Trump,” Tyler Cowen writes: From a recent NPR/PBS poll: African-American approval: 11% White approval: 40% Latino approval: 50% He gets 136 comments, many of which reveal a stunning ignorance of polling. For example, several commenters seem to think that a poll sponsored by National Public Radio is a […]

Another Regression Discontinuity Disaster and what can we learn from it

As the above image from Diana Senechal illustrates, a lot can happen near a discontinuity boundary. Here’s a more disturbing picture, which comes from a recent research article, “The Bright Side of Unionization: The Case of Stock Price Crash Risk,” by Jeong-Bon Kim, Eliza Xia Zhang, and Kai Zhong: which I learned about from the […]

How much is your vote worth?

Tyler Cowen writes: If it were legal, and you tried to sell your vote and your vote alone, you might not get much more than 0.3 cents. It depends where you live. If you’re not voting in any close elections, then the value of your vote is indeed close to zero. For example, I am […]

Peter Ellis on Forecasting Antipodal Elections with Stan

I liked this intro to Peter Ellis from Rob J. Hyndman’s talk announcement: He [Peter Ellis] started forecasting elections in New Zealand as a way to learn how to use Stan, and the hobby has stuck with him since he moved back to Australia in late 2018. You may remember Peter from my previous post […]

Donald J. Trump and Robert E. Lee

The other day the president made some news by praising Civil War general Robert E. Lee, and it struck me that Trump and Lee had a certain amount in common. Not in their personalities, but in their situations. Lee could’ve fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Or he could’ve saved a couple […]

(from Yair): What Happened in the 2018 Election

Yair writes: Immediately following the 2018 election, we published an analysis of demographic voting patterns, showing our best estimates of what happened in the election and putting it into context compared to 2016 and 2014. . . . Since then, we’ve collected much more data — precinct results from more states and, importantly, individual-level vote history records […]

What are some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes?

John Kastellec writes: I was thinking about writing a short paper aimed at getting political scientists to not make some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes. I’ve come up with the following list of such mistakes. I was just wondering if any others immediately came to mind? – Label lines directly – Make labels big […]

Abortion attitudes: The polarization is among richer, more educated whites

Abortion has been in the news lately. A journalist asked me something about abortion attitudes and I pointed to a post from a few years ago about partisan polarization on abortion. Also this with John Sides on why abortion consensus is unlikely. That was back in 2009, and consensus doesn’t seem any more likely today. […]

My talks at the University of Chicago this Thursday and Friday

Political Economy Workshop (12:30pm, Thurs 23 May 2019, Room 1022 of Harris Public Policy (Keller Center) 1307 E 60th Street): Political Science and the Replication Crisis We’ve heard a lot about the replication crisis in science (silly studies about ESP, evolutionary psychology, miraculous life hacks, etc.), how it happened (p-values, forking paths), and proposed remedies […]